How Did Rod Laver’s Wife Pass Away? Here’s Heart-Breaking Tale From the Tennis Legend’s Marriage

Published 01/28/2024, 4:30 AM EST

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Rod Laver‘s remarkable love story with Mary Bensen unfolds as a captivating chapter in the annals of tennis history. Their love for each other knew no bounds and Mary’s undying support for Laver is the reason behind his successful recovery after suffering from a heart stroke in 1998. Their evergreen story of love could go on forever, but fate had different plans.

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After 46 years of being happy together, Laver’s wife left the world in 2012. Let’s take a look at one of the most heartbreaking tales from the 85-year-old tennis legend’s marriage when he lost his wife to a severe illness.

A heartbreaking tale of Rod Laver’s wife’s demise

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Both of them came from totally different backgrounds; Rod Laver was the sports hero from Australia, while Mary was a divorced mom who knew very little about tennis. But after hitting it off at the first meeting, they got married in 1966. A year after his wife’s demise, in an interview, the whole family came together to talk about the most important person in Laver’s life.

The 11-time Grand Slam champion faced a critical problem during the 1990s, as he suffered a heart stroke. While recovering, Laver became dependent, and he felt that he was creating problems for his family. However, Mary was there by his side all the time, and finally, Laver could walk again. Subsequently, a time came when his wife dealt with a series of health problems, one after the other, including breast cancer and heart attacks.

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It was a complicated condition that was associated with never-ending burning nerves in her hands and feet. At the time, the 11-time Grand Slam champion became a caregiver, and his wife, the world traveler, had to stay at home, which she never wanted. The Australian tennis player spent hours rubbing her feet to produce heat and took care of the pills she needed to take to stimulate blood flow.

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Not only that, Rod Laver said, “Sometimes, we would put an ice pack on her head. It would melt almost immediately.” After struggling a lot with herself, she left the world and found peace from all the illnesses that she had been suffering for so long. Mary’s departure did not in any way reduce the love Laver had for her.

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When Rod Laver happily talked about his wife 

Just a few days after Mary passed away at the age of 84, Laver said, “We had a wonderful life together. We did a lot of traveling, a lot of tennis tournaments, tennis events.” In addition, after her demise, he started dating again and was in a relationship with Susan Johnson, who was previously married to Nabisco chairman F. Ross Johnson.

But it won’t be wrong to say that he never found someone like his wife again, who used to stand beside him through every hurdle of life. Recently, the Australian tennis player attended the 2024 Australian Open and gave a huge surprise to all the young tennis players who did amazing on the Melbourne courts.

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Nevertheless, being married for around 46 years and seeing each other through happiness and sorrow, Laver’s life has never been an easy journey. What are your thoughts on the life of the Australian tennis player? Do let us know in the comment section below.

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Written by:

Pratishtha Prakash

2,097Articles

One take at a time

Watching the biggest sports events have been a part of my life right from my early childhood. Although I have grown up watching a variety of sports, including tennis, cricket, and esports, I have a special connection to tennis. Thus, when it came to building a career in sports journalism, I focused on the racket sport.
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Edited by:

Ananya Giri

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